Songs Sung Phew

TO WIT

November 08, 1992|By DAVE BARRY

In a recent column I noted that certain songs are always getting played on the radio, despite the fact that these songs are bad. One example I cited was Neil Diamond's ballad "I Am, I Said," in which Neil complains repeatedly that nobody hears him, "not even the chair." I pointed out that this does not make sense, unless Neil has unusually intelligent furniture.

Well, it turns out there are some major Neil Diamond fans out there in Readerland who sent me a large pile of hostile mail. In the interest of fairness, I will summarize their arguments here:

"Dear Pukenose:

"Just who the hell do you think you are to blah blah a great artist like Neil blah blah more than 20 gold records blah blah how many gold records do you have? I personally have attended 1,794 of Neil's concerts blah blah What about 'Love on the Rocks?' Huh? What about 'Cracklin' Rosie?' blah blah so I listened to 'Heart Light' 40 times in a row and the next day the cyst was gone blah blah What About 'Song Sung' Blah? Cancel my subscription, if I have one."

So we can clearly see that music is a matter of personal taste. Person A may hate a particular song, such as "Havin' My Baby" by Paul Anka, and Person B might love that song. But does this mean that Person B is wrong? Of course not. It simply means that Person B is an idiot. Because some songs are just plain bad, and "Havin' My Baby" is one of them.

That's not merely my opinion: That's the opinion of many readers who took time out from whatever they do, which I hope does not involve operating machinery, to write letters containing harsh remarks about bad songs. In fact, to judge from the reader reaction, the public is a lot more concerned about the issue of song badness than about the presidential election (which by the way is over, so you can turn on your TV again).

And it's not just the public. It's also the media. I put a message on the Miami Herald's newsroom computer system, asking people to nominate the worst rock song ever, and within minutes I was swamped with passionate responses. And these were from newspaper people, who are legendary for their cold-blooded noninvolvement ("I realize this is a bad time for you, Mrs. Weemer, but could you tell me how you felt when you found Mr. Weemer's head?").

Other popular choices were "A Horse With No Name," performed by America; "Billy, Don't Be A Hero," by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods; "Kung Fu Fighting," by Carl Douglas; "Copacabana," Barry Manilow; "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," by Lobo; "Seasons in the Sun," by Terry Jacks; "Feelings," by various weenies; "The Pepsi Song," by Ray Charles; "Muskrat Love," by the Captain and Tennille; every song ever recorded by Bobby Goldsboro; and virtually every song recorded since about 1972.

Anyway, since people feel so strongly about this issue, I've decided to conduct a nationwide survey to determine the worst rock song ever. I realize that similar surveys have been done before, but this will be the first rock-song survey ever that I'll be able to get an easy column out of.

So I'm asking you to send me your nominations in two categories: Worst Overall Song, and Worst Lyrics. In the second category, for example, you might want to consider a song I swear I heard back in the late 1950s, which I believe was called "Girls Grow Up Faster Than Boys Do." The chorus went:

Won't you take a look at me now

You'll be surprised at what you see now

I'm everything a girl should be now

Thirty-six, twenty-four, thirty-FIVE!

I'm sure you can do worse than that. So write your two nominations (one song in each category) on a post card -- not a letter -- and send it to Bad Song Survey, c/o Dave Barry, the Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla. 33132.

Send your card today. We'll have joy, we'll have fun. So Cracklin' Rosie, get on board, because Honey, I miss you. And your dog named Boo.

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